Published: March 20, 2018

The Program for Teaching East Asia begins its 18th year at CAS with new project awards from the Freeman Foundation, STARTALK, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, and the AAS Northeast Asia Council. Readers interested in more information on how TEA serves pre-college educators and schools can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the TEA monthly E-News or Twitter accounts. Visit our webpage at to sign up. 

In this issue of the CAS newsletter, we highlight two TEA national projects tying pre-college study of Japan to the upcoming 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo: Imagining and Re-imagining the Nation through Its Capital  

Ten teachers, all alumni of TEA professional development programs, were selected to participate in this year-long 2017 program that included an online course, a residential seminar in Tokyo, and curriculum development. Funding was provided by the US-Japan Foundation and the Freeman Foundation.

Through the spring, teachers participated in a three-month online course to consider how the national capital of Tokyo has projected a national identity and how this identity has been created and recreated at pivotal moments in Japan’s history: the birth of the modern nation under the Meiji emperor, the rebuilding of Tokyo following the Kanto Earthquake, and the re-emergence of postwar Japan as “peaceful internationalist” at the 1964 Olympics.  The program engaged participants with several essential questions and four conceptual organizers:

  • Construction and Reconstruction: Literal and ideological construction
  • Composition: Spatial composition
  • Cultural identity: How does Tokyo project definitions of what it means to be Japanese?
  • Contested and Counter-narratives: voices/expressions of Japanese “others” within the narratives of Tokyo as a national and global city?

The highlight of the program was a two-week residential seminar in Tokyo in July. In Tokyo, TEA collaborated with the American School in Japan, using ASIJ classroom facilities and working with ASIJ faculty to create an itinerary of meetings and experiential excursions that included discussions of Tokyo architecture with architects from Kange Associates, consideration of landmark renovations on the eve of the Olympics, and a study of public protest art. For participants, highlights included the opportunity consider Tokyo identity projected through the Tsukiji neighborhood with Ted Bestor; a full-day seminar focusing on the integrated “Artelligent City” concept of Roppongi Hills with Mori representatives, and a walking tour and conversations with residents of Shin Okubo.

Through fall 2017, participants worked with TEA staff to develop curriculum units integrating the seminar experience, which they will teach in their own classrooms and share with fellow educators.


Olympic Friendships: Elementary Education for Global Competency in Japan and the United States

With a new grant from the Center for Global Partnership, Japan Foundation, TEA is collaborating with the University of Tokyo Center for Advanced School Education and Evidence-based Research in a program to provide teacher professional development and establish partner-school relationships between elementary schools in Tokyo and the United States.

In Tokyo, the project will further global education goals including global and self-awareness, cross-cultural skills-building, and English language education, under the Tokyo Board of Education 2020 Olympic/ParaOlympic education initiative, “Global Friendship Project.” In the US, the project will support elementary schools’ study of Japan, global competency education, and development of students’ 21st-century skills.

Across two school years, teachers at five schools in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska will engage in partner-school virtual and material exchange activities with Tokyo schools. During a seminar in Tokyo in June 2018, there will be an opportunity for face-to-face collaboration at the Japanese schools. In addition to facilitating exchange activities, participating U.S. educators will take part in online content and orientation programming in spring 2018 and prepare teaching resources in the 2018-19 school year.

Lynn Parisi
Director of the Program for Teaching East Asia